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Houston PD Chief: Trump’s Support of Police Brutality Reinforces View of Officers as “Neanderthals”

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President Donald Trump continues to face widespread criticism from police chiefs across the country following a speech he gave to police officers in Long Island, New York, that appeared to openly endorse police brutality. Commenting on the need to crack down on gang members, Trump suggested that police officers have license to use excessive force on suspects. For more, we speak with Houston’s police chief, Art Acevedo.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Chief Acevedo, I wanted to ask you one last question on a different issue. I wanted to get your response to President Trump’s recent address to law enforcement officers on Long Island, New York, where he said this.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: And when you see these towns and when you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon—you just see them thrown in, rough—I said, “Please don’t be too nice.” Like when you guys put somebody in the car, and you’re protecting their head, you know, the way you put the hand over? Like, don’t hit their head, and they’ve just killed somebody, don’t hit their head. I said, “You can take the hand away, OK?”

AMY GOODMAN: So, that was President Trump. While the police officers standing behind him at Suffolk Community College were applauding, he was slammed by a number of national police organizations for encouraging police brutality. Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, your response to what he said?

ART ACEVEDO: Well, I mean, we already responded. We responded quickly as a profession. There’s no room for the president of the United States to create the perception and feed that narrative that policing is—we’re a bunch of Neanderthals. We are committed to the rule of law. And the person who needs to set the tone is the president. And so, we condemned those comments very quickly as a profession. And whether it’s SB 4 or police brutality, I’m proud of the fact that law enforcement today is going to be judged as being on the right side of history on these issues.

AMY GOODMAN: Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, we want to thank you very much for joining us, and Renée Feltz, contributing reporter to The Intercept and Democracy Now! We’ll link to your piece.

This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. When we come back, we go to Detroit and then to Charlottesville, Virginia, where white supremacists are planning a major rally, for them, this weekend. Stay with us.

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